Artifact of the Month
Artifact of the Month: October 2021

Slices of Ketchikan Life

Marie (Eines) Hellyer was an avid amateur photographer, who started taking photos during her high school years at Kayhi. She often took her camera on outings around Ketchikan and enjoyed photographing everyday life during those years. As a young girl, Marie dreamed of working at Schallerer's photo shop but she was too bashful to properly ask for a job. Instead, Marie earned money to support her film habit by working for Peg Ellis whose husband Bob was a well-known bush pilot. Marie graduated from Kayhi in 1941 and in her diary that year she noted the cost of her hobby, "I also mailed a roll of films to Portland to get them developed because it only costs a quarter down there-up here it is 60 cents."

Recently Marie's daughter, Margaret, donated a collection of images from the Eines family, mostly from the 1920s into the 1940s. Growing up on Millar Street in a bustling Norwegian household, many of the photos taken by Marie show family, neighbors, and her Kayhi classmates. The photos also give glimpses of visiting fish traps, hiking Deer Mountain, and rare street scenes of the Newtown area. Personal photos are so helpful for research at the museum because they may show an uncommon building or a street angle, people, or unique detail not seen in professional photographs.

Describing her mom, Margaret said, "She loved photography, she loved Ketchikan and growing up there, she loved walking downtown with friends to the movies, to the soda shop, to dances and other activities. She was very social and had many friends, some of whom she stayed in contact with the rest of her life." In the fall of 1941, Marie went down to Bellingham, Washington for college. Each summer during the war years, she returned home to work in the salmon canneries to earn tuition for the next school year.

Join us at the Tongass Historical Museum for the special exhibit, Alaska Positive, on display October 1 to December 18, 2021. Alaska Positive is a statewide juried photographic exhibition organized and toured by the Alaska State Museum. The current exhibit features local photographers Mike Gates and Deborah Mercy, and former Ketchikan resident Rafael Torres.

Photo caption 1: Marie (Eines) Hellyer on Pennock Island with her trusted camera, summer 1944.
Photo caption 2: Kids enjoying watermelon on Millar Street, 1946. Notice the wooden sidewalk and stairs in the background.

Ketchikan Museums, KM 2021.2.14
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Marie (Eines) Hellyer on Pennock IslandMarie (Eines) Hellyer on Pennock Island
Kids sitting on a boardwalk and eating watermellonKids sitting on a boardwalk, eating watermelon